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Medical Pharmacology

Exposure to Psychotropic Medications and Other Substances during Pregnancy and Lactation

Handbook for Heath Care Providers

by (author) CAMH & Motherrisk

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Initial publish date
Mar 2007
Pharmacology, Breastfeeding, Pregnancy & Childbirth
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2007
    List Price

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A great deal of misinformation exists about women’s use of substances during pregnancy and lactation. A health care provider’s challenge is to know the true risks and bene?ts, both to the mother and to her fetus or baby, of taking versus stopping the use of a medication or other substance. Yet the average provider is not well equipped to give the best advice to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and exposed to psychotropics.

  • • “Is it ever safe to drink alcohol when breastfeeding?”
  • • “What are the risks to the baby if the mother uses cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding?”
  • • “Are the effects of smoking different during pregnancy versus during breastfeeding?”
  • • “If a woman stops taking an antidepressant when she
  • • “Can a woman safely breastfeed her baby when taking codeine?”

Exposure to Psychotropic Medications and Other Substances during Pregnancy and Lactation: A Handbook for Health Care Providers is a convenient source of evidence­-based information and recommen­dations on these and many other questions for primary care physicians, psychiatrists, pharmacists, obstetricians, midwives, public health nurses and nurse practitioners.

The handbook:

  • • details the properties and effects of many psychotropic medications and other substances, and provides rec­ommendations for how to advise women using these substances
  • • dispels common myths about drug exposure during pregnancy and lactation
  • • discusses key principles for clinical approaches to working with pregnant or breastfeeding women who use psychotropic medications or other substances
  • • covers screening best practices and provides screening tools
  • • explores the critical therapeutic role that all health professionals can play in helping women move toward better health outcomes for themselves and their babies.

The production of this handbook has been made possible through a “nancial contribution from Health Canada.

About the authors

Le Centre de toxicomanie et de santé mentale (CAMH) est l’une des plus grandes organisations de toxicomanie et de santé mentale en Amérique du nord et le plus grand hôpital d’enseignement dans les domaines de la toxicomanie et de la santé mentale au Canada. CAMH est un Centre collaborateur de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé et de l’Organisation panaméricaine de la santé. Il est affilié à part entière à l’Université de Toronto. CAMH intègre les soins cliniques, la recherche scientifique ainsi que les activités d’éducation, d’élaboration de politiques et de promotion de la santé afin de transformer la vie des personnes touchées par des questions liées à la toxicomanie et à la santé mentale.

CAMH's profile page

The Motherisk Program at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is a clinical, research and teaching program dedicated to antenatal drug, chemical and disease risk counselling.

Motherrisk's profile page

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